the latest headlines for you from bbc news. scott morrison is to become the new prime minister of australia, the seventh in 11 years. the 50—year—old from sydney is seen as an ally of the former leader malcolm turnbull, who lost the support of the liberal party. using the word in public for the first time, president trump has claimed that any attempt by his opponents to impeach him would collapse the markets and damage the country. he's been responding to the conviction this week of his former personal lawyer, michael cohen, who gave evidence on oath that he broke campaign finance laws, in the 2016 election, on mr trump's orders. hurricane lane has been downgraded to a tropical storm as it reaches land in hawaii. authorities though have warned residents and visitors that strong winds and heavy rain are likely to cause serious disruption for several days. emergency shelters have opened and schools, businesses and government offices are closed. it's 4:30am in the morning, it's time for hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk from bogota,
with me, stephen sackur. i have come to the colombian capital for an exclusive interview with this country's new president. ivan duque is a youthful centre—right politician who faces enormous challenges in these early days of his presidency. is he going to stick with that fragile peace deal agreed by his predecessor with the rebel group, the farc? and how will he deal with the unfolding economic and humanitarian catastrophe in neighbouring venezuela? ivan duque is a relatively untested political novice. how will he respond to these early challenges? president ivan duque, welcome to hardtalk.
thank you so much. it is a pleasure to be on your show. i think i have to start with the crisis in venezuela. a massive economic and humanitarian catastrophe in that country which is having repercussions throughout the region. people are calling it the greatest migration crisis that latin america has ever experienced. is colombia struggling to cope? what is happening in venezuelan is the consequence of a dictatorship that has derailed independent powers, that has derailed free press, that has abused of all its population and that has destroyed the economy. so there are thousands of people trying to find hope somewhere else, and their first choice is colombia. we have now over 800,000 venezuelan citizens in colombia,
and we have to give them support. but now we need a stronger action from all latin american countries among the 0as so that we can have a temporary protection status, so that we can all support that population. i come back to the question, right now, with those 800,000 — some people are saying a million already, and it could go much higher — right now, would you accept that colombia is struggling to cope? i think colombia has a major, major, um, situation with what is happening. but i think we have to be very articulate in terms of policy and in terms of solidarity. in terms of policy i think we are doing the right thing, which is providing health, education, humanitarian support. and, in terms of humanitarian assistance, we need to have a bigger action with the help of other countries.
i'll get to that... but let me tell you something, the most important thing at this moment is that, if the dictatorship does not end, the migration will not stop. that is why using all the diplomatic approach is necessary. we have to isolate the regime and ask for free elections so that people will have hope again, and will move back to venezuela in the following years. are you asking for regime change in venezuela 7 i think many countries are and we are also asking for that. we have not recognised the last elections in venezuela. why? because the dictator manipulated all the democratic system, the apparent democratic system, to keep himself in office. the colombian government has not recognised that regime, and so have many countries in latin america have done the same thing. i'll come back to the regional
politics around all of this, butjust to finish up on the humanitarian situation on your border, observers on the border are saying that in colombia, if the venezuelan people who have crossed the border do not have passports and all of their registration documents, they are not being allowed into the humanitarian aid centres and shelters. why is that? in colombia we have accepted people without having a passport. there are other countries in latin america who are making those restrictions. i understand that, but you are not giving them access to all the humanitarian support which you just told me about but which, if you do not have a passport, you cannot access. we have been giving support to people without passports. we have for a long time. and actually, the situation... the washington office on latin america issued a report just the other day saying, "the colombian government is making it difficult for venezuelans to access humanitarian aid and shelter. this leaves migrants are vulnerable to violance and exploitation." i don't know about that report
but i can tell you that we have been keeping the same policy that began some months ago, and that policy has been to keep our borders open to humanitarian support, and we know that now is the time where we have to give back the solidarity that we got years ago from the venezuelan people when we had a huge colombian migration. so now we have to give ourselves to this solidarity but, at the same time, we have to articulate the right policies so that we do the right thing. can you categorically say to me now that colombia will never close its border to venezuelans? we have never done that and we should not, but we have to face the fact that now colombia, by itself, is not gonig to be the solution. we need to have some support from other countries.
but let me say this, we also have to call for an international action, diplomatic international action, that allows the regime to step out so that they can have free elections in venezuela and that free elections can re—optimise people, confidence to go back to venezuela. how much intervention are you prepared to support? i noticed jsut the other day you had a meeting with us defence secretaryjim mattis. you also met with the the un ambassador who said that, after meeting you, "at some point maduro is going to have to be dealt with." are you, the americans and others talking about a direct intervention to get rid of maduro? i have never talked about military action. what i have said is that we have to use all the diplomatic measures that are needed. last year, i denounced
a huge impact on your country and is putting a strain on your country. but people here in colombia, in your first couple of weeks in the job as president, they want to know what you are going to do about the peace deal, struck with the farc by your predecessor. you opposed it and people now wonder whether you want to scrap that deal. do you? i always said that we were not going to destroy the agreement, that we had to make the right amendments so that we could have a lasting peace in colombia. what does that mean? that we can put an end to the expansion of illegal crops, that we can sanction the people who have hidden weapons or assets that should be given to attend the victims. and something that is necessary as well, people that are condemned for crimes against humanity have to leave congress while they serve their sentence. but the party can replace those
seats so they do not lose the seats that they already have — that is coherence, and that is just trying to make the colombian people believe that reparation, and dearmament, demobilisation and attending the victims are preserved as principles. but what you actually said before the presidential election was this, you said, "we cannot allow farc leaders to participate in politics. that is a catastrophe until they have provided reparations to all of their victims, told all of the truth and completed their sentences. " so you appear to be saying that, contrary to the agreement, fa rc leaders cannot play a role in politics. what i said is what actually my predecessor said in the midst of the plebiscite of 2000, that referendum in 2016. what did he say?
he said that people who are responsible for crimes against humanity will not be able to run for office until they serve the sentence, tell the truth and repair the victims. so they are now in congress. what i'm saying at this moment is that any amendment should emphasise that people who have convictions for crimes against humanity, they have to leave the seat but the seat can be replaced by a number member who does not have a debt with justice for crimes against humanity. this effort of yours to change the nature of the deal... to modify, to modify. ..well, you say modify. i guess it reflects what your critics call your reliance on the support and the backing of former president, alvaro uribe. he hated that deal. he continues to hate that deal. some in colombia see you as his puppet. well, i am the president
of colombia. i was elected with the biggest voting turnout in colombia's history. and i want to serve the whole colombian people. and what the whole colombian people want is to have lasting peace and to have lasting peace, we need to have justice and justice needs legality. and you are playing with fire because if you say you want peace, listen to these words from the international crisis group, a respected bunch of international consultants who look at this deal, look at colombia'spolitics, and they say if you continue with your efforts to modify the deal... "it could spark renewed violence, it could hinder the extension of state authority and legal economic activity to those long—neglected rural areas, and it could fuel the growth of illicit armed groups.: i.e., colombia could sink back into the violence we saw before. today, unfortunately, what we have seen a year and a half after the agreement has been signed,
is we have seen exponential growth in illegal crops, we have seen dissidence grow in the territory and create a threat to the colombian population. are you saying the peace deal is not working? in some places of the country it is not. and it has been recognised, even by people who were supporters before. actually, actually, let's look at the facts... let mejust finished the argument there. when we look at what is going on in colombia today, the thing that we all desperately want is to have a lasting peace. and in order to have it, we must amend the things that are not going well. but this is a 2—party deal. look at what the farc are doing in response to your efforts to modify, also, the discussion that
you are having about extraditing to the united states a farc commander, jesus santrich, who is actually supposed to be one of the lead negotiators, who was a fundamental part of the peace agreement. you appear to be ready to extradite him to the united states and in response, farc leaders, including ivan marquez, have gone back to the jungle. you are running the risk of reigniting this conflict. let me tell you something, when was santrich captured? during the santos administration. what happened after he was captured? president santos gave a tv speech with attorney general, and the attorney general, in front of the colombian people, with my predecessor, said that they had strong evidence that this person was still having narcotic trafficking operations after the agreement has been signed. he was captured not by my administration,
he was captured by my predecessor. however, you are the guy who will have to make the decision. i said in the agreement, it is very clear, that if you commit crimes after the signing of the agreement, you are not going to have any differentiated treatment. so it has to go to ordinaryjustice and, if the ordinaryjustice puts before my desk the signing of the extradition, it is my duty to do so. and i will fulfil my duty if that is necessary. what do you think the chances are of colombia sinking back into a war between the state and the guerillas in the farc? i don't see that happening. i said from the very first day of my administration, all the members of the farc who are part of the farc base, we have demobilised, reinserted, we're going
to give them support. we're going to help them find a productive activity. we're going to give them psychological attendance. and we want social investment to keep on going to the regions that have been effected by violence. and we have to fulfill those promises. the truth is, the most worrying violence in colombia today is not actually coming from thse rebel groups, guerillas, it's coming from unknown militias, paramilitaries and common criminals who are killing by the hundreds community activists, social rights campaigners, particularly in rural areas. a stunning figure for you — according to your own ombudsman‘s office in the state of colombia, more than 300 of these activists have been killed since 2016. now, of course, that's not on your watch, you've only been president for a couple of weeks,
but what are you going to do about it? actually, today, before i came to this interview, we had a meeting with all the institutions that are involved in protecting human rights in colombia and we have to present a new policy framework in the weeks to come so that we can have a joint action, first to prevent and then to sanction and to investigate who is behind those crimes. so what is the sickness in this country that allows human rights and social activist campaigners to be killed by the hundreds and, it has to be said, that colombia's own inspector general, fernando carrillo, has said that he believes the military and the police are collaborating with criminal gangs. what is going on? first of all, if there are people from the military or the police involved in those crimes, they should be investigated and brought to justice. you will do that? of course. and i also said that all narco trafficking organizations
in the country who were also behind some of those crimes, are going to be attacked by us and they are going to be dissuaded and they're going to be brought to justice, but we are not going to allow impunity in any crime in colombia and especially with any social leader. isn't one of the structural, the fundamental problems in colombia is that many of the poor, particularly in rural areas, i don't mean to be personal, but look at a president such as yourself, from an elite family, like all of colombia's other presidents have been, and we know that this is one of the most unequal societies in latin america, and they think to themselves, "we are never go to get social justice from a president like this." my story is different. i'm not a person from the elite... your father was a former provincial governor. my father was born in a rural area, and he made his career working hard.
we're from a middle—class family. my father and grandfather went to public education and we have always worked and gathered our things by working. but your links with alvoro uribe, the way you made your way in politics, you are young, you are successful, but to the poor and the disadvantaged in this country, are you saying that you are their champion? my programme, the programme that i used and built in the election, from the bottom to the top, was based on one principal — equality, socialjustice. and i said that in the day i took my office, this was going to be the government of socialjustice and i have to work hard across the social divide. you're going to have to work very hard. let me quote you...
here's the words of a researcher at the foundation, an ngo, he says this, "the local elites, the big landowners, the businessmen, they feel empowered by the election of a new right—wing government." first of all, i've always considered myself a centrist and i run with a centrist platform. the best way of putting this into the centre is that we need to have to have social equality but the only way to get social equality is to make this country have equal opportunity for people who have talent and creativity. to begin the intermentship. to be able to generate jobs. and my goal and i'm going to work very hard for that, is that we create the right environment so that we can have a middle—class expansion and put an end to extreme poverty. you are the latest president to come into office declaring that
you will take on the narco traffickers, you will conquer colombia's drug problem, and you say you are going to get tough and demand more manual eradication, you're going to go back to the aerial fumigation and the use of pesticides fro mthe air to kill the crops, but i put it to you that all of this tough talk has been heard before and it never, ever works in colombia. what we need to have is coherence in policy. coherence means to have a state policy. we reduced illegal crops from 1999—2012 from 180,000 hectares to 50,000 hectares. today we have more than 200,000. what is it that we need to do? to have an integral programme that has to do with eradication and substitution but also to promote internementship and find productive activities. what you are talking about when it comes to specifically the growth of the coca and cocaine trade, you're about prohibition and getting tougher and tougher, working with the americans as well
but there are many latin american leaders, mostly of them, interestingly retired, not current, we say forget about it, prohibition is never going to work. you can talk about perez molina in guatemala and vicente fox, and calderon in mexico, you can even talk about cesar gaviria in this country. all of them had concluded that this focus on prohibition is never going to work and there have to be more creative solutions. have you got one? if the world wants to put an end to prohibition, it has to be a global effort, but what you cannot do is to legalise in a country while there is prohibition in the rest of the world. it has to be a joint effort. it's the only way that the debate can be sound and the solution can be equal to everyone. so for you, the war on drugs, do you just ramp it up? what i said about drugs
is that we want to have a society free of drugs. we have to use an integral approach. we have to go to prevention again. prevention in the family, prevention in the schools. we have to treat the people who are addicted in the right way. we should not criminalize the peopl that are consumers. we have to make eradication and substitution and, at the same time, we have to use society. those are the kind of integral things that have been proposed to the colombian people. it is coherent but it is not only just coherent it is needed because when you see people in colombia from families that are vulnerable in economic terms. if someone gets into the drug abuse, that family is going to have a tremendous problem to get out of that situation so that is why prevention, the joint action of substitution and eradication and at the same time getting to those persons in the cocoa production, the possibility to have a productive activity are the kinds of integral policies we want to put together.
a final thought, thanks to colombia's latest constitution, you only have one term. you have four years to achieve everything you've talked about in this interview, including making peace, a real lasting peace with the guerillas, including beating the drug lords and nacros and getting drugs out of colombia, and, as you say, committing itself to equality. that is the most ambitious agenda, you've only got four year. i'll tell you, i've been working very hard and i am here with my programme every day and i'm going to fulfil what we set in our programme because we want to deliver to the colombian people. i might not reach everything that i want, but i'm going to work hard to achieve it, and that's why
i was elected and that's why i'm giving the best of myself to serve the colombian people. president ivan duque, we have to end there but thank you very much for being on hardtalk. thank you so much. much appreciated, mr president. thanks you very much indeed. well, some noticeable changes to the weather to end the week. it's going to feel a lot cooler and fresher right across the board with sunshine and showers. in fact, it's going to feel pretty autumnal for some areas, particularly across the north and west. plenty of heavy showers around. this pretty cold air mass moving down from the north—west will be right across the country as we start friday morning. it really will be quite noticeable. feeding in plenty of showers into the north and the west of the country, but further south and east, with lengthy clear skies, it should stay generally dry here to start friday. much coolerfor all,
including the south—east. temperatures here starting off between nine and 12 degrees. so for friday itself, not looking too bad. we're start off with sunshine in southern and eastern areas, albeit rather chilly. lots of showers from the word go in the north and west, and these will become more widespread into the afternoon, especially in central and southern parts of the country, some will be heavy with hail and thunder mixed in as well. the wind arrows show a blustery day, any showers will be quite blustery when they arrive and because of the strength of the wind coming down from the north—west, it's going to feel pretty chilly, with temperatures ranging from 1a to 18 or 19 in the south—east. one or two spots could just make 20 degrees. for friday evening, those showers begin to ease down. a few still going across northern and western areas, but lengthy clear
skies across northern, central and eastern areas mean it's going to be a really chilly one for all, especially scotland and north—east england and in sheltered spots, we could see temperatures down to near freezing. now, as we head on into saturday, it looks like this ridge of high pressure will nudge in from the west and what that will do is it will push the area of low pressure away and ease the shower development down. looking like saturday should be a drier day for most of us. there will be more in the way of sunshine and showers. still a few going in northern and western areas and a few good travel through the cheshire gap into the midlands, but temperature—wise, similar to friday's, 1a to maybe 20 degrees, but with more sunshine around, it could feel a little bit more pleasant. on sunday, big changes again, the next area of low pressure moves in from the atlantic, it looks like it's going to arrive quite early. a really chilly and maybe a bright start in eastern areas before this area of low pressure brings wet and windy weather to most areas, spreading eastwards as the day wears on. some of this rain could be heavy, particularly across western hills. the skies will brighten in northern ireland later in the day and because of the cloud, wind and rain it could feel pretty chilly with temperatures in the mid—to—high teens cesius at best.
for most of us, it's going to be a bank holiday on monday, and it's looking a little better with more in the way of sunshine and feeling a bit warmer in the south. this is the briefing. i'm sally bundock. our top stories: a new prime ministerfor australia — scott morrison is the surprise choice to replace malcolm turnbull. no safe level of alcohol consumption — the startling new advice following a 26—year study looking at international drinking habits. hurricane lane is downgraded just as it reaches land in hawaii. in business: impeach me and the market crashes! president trump warns of dire economic damage if he's removed from office.